'Live Out Proud': Speakers address recent anti-LGBTQ+ violence at Silicon Valley Pride kickoff

Lauren Martinez Image
Wednesday, August 23, 2023
Recent anti-LGBTQ+ violence addressed at Silicon Valley Pride kickoff
Elected officials and community members kicked off Silicon Valley Pride week with a flag-raising ceremony in front of San Jose City Hall.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Pride week is celebrated in the South Bay twice a year and on Tuesday elected officials and community members kicked off the week with a flag-raising ceremony in front of San Jose City Hall.

This year's theme is Live Out Proud - a sentiment as important as ever.

Nicole Altamirano is the CEO of Silicon Valley Pride. The organization partnered with the city for the flag-raising ceremony on Tuesday.

"We see the legislations that have been sweeping this nation for the past two years and we see the tragedy that has happened in Southern California just a few days ago," Altamirano said.

Speaker after speaker addressed the level of recent violence against people within the LGBTQ+ community.

In Lake Arrowhead, California, authorities say a clothing store owner was killed in a dispute for flying a pride flag outside her store. Laura Anne Carleton was a married mother of nine children.

MORE: Store owner killed over displaying Pride flag; suspect shouted homophobic slurs, police say

Kristopher Popovski is a member of Silicon Valley Gay Men's Chorus.

"No matter how progressive you think that you are like in a state there's always work to be done," Popovski.

Gabrielle Antolovich has volunteered with the Billy DeFrank LGBTQ Community Center since the 1980's.

The center continues to inspire action and provide a safe space.

"We're bringing mental health first aid training so that we can keep people afloat and also we're doing a lot of advocacy work and training people on how to do community organizing," Antolovich said.

VIDEO: Celebration and fight highlighted at South Bay LGBTQ+ events

Pride and progress were themes at two events in downtown San Jose celebrating LGBTQ+ community members and organizations.

Tuesday's flag ceremony brought together city leaders and local organizations in the South Bay that prove there are allies out there.

"We need to be doing everything we can to support the effort to make Post Street more exciting, more vibrant, and more safe," said Mayor Matt Mahan.

Omar Torres is the first out LGBTQ+ person of color to sit on the San Jose city council.

"From school boards to city councils to the federal level our community continues to be attacked. Shame on those folks who do not embrace us - shame on them for not embracing us. And that is why when we are parading down East Santa Clara Street, when we are dancing at Splash, when we are enjoying brunch with beautiful drag queens we let people know we are loud and we are proud," Torres said.

Torres said he plans to march with pride at the parade and festival this weekend.

"I know you want to walk with Mayor Mahan and councilmember Davis but I'm the queen around here so please come walk with me," Torres said.

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